UPDATED at 5:45 p.m.: More bad news. The death toll is now at 280, and expected to continue to climb, the AP reports.
UPDATED at 1:30 p.m.: Worse still.
AP is reporting the new tally is 248.
Alabama's count ticked up one to 132. Meanwhile, Tennessee's tally reached 32, bringing it even with Mississippi. Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky remain the same from the last update at 13, eight and one, respectively.
Meanwhile, the White House has announced that President Obama will head to Alabama on Friday to see the damage first hand, Politico reports.
"The President will travel to Alabama tomorrow to view the damage as well as meet with Governor Bentley, state and local officials and families affected by the storms," the White House announced after Obama spoke with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
UPDATED at 12:20 p.m.: The news continues to get worse, as the death toll continues to climb in the wake of the deadly storms that swept across the South on Wednesday.
The new tally is 215 confirmed deaths. Alabama was still, by far, the hardest hit with 131 fatalities. Meanwhile, there were 32 in Mississippi, 30 in Tennessee, 13 in Georgia, eight in Virginia and one in Kentucky, according to the AP's latest count.
UPDATED at 10:50 a.m.: Make that 201. Tennessee officials have raised their count to 16 dead.
UPDATED at 9:45 a.m.: The death toll has now reached 200, according to the AP.
Latest breakdown by state: 131 dead in Alabama, 32 in Mississippi, 15 in Tennessee, 13 in Georgia, eight in Virginia and one in Kentucky.
At least 173 people have died from severe storms that swept across the South on Wednesday. Alabama was the hardest hit, reporting 128 deaths and counting.
The powerful storms unleashed tornadoes and flash floods across the region, wiping out homes and businesses and forcing a nuclear power plant to rely on backup generators, the Associated Press reports.
Mississippi officials are reporting 32 were killed in their state. Another 11 are dead in Georgia, along with one each in Tennessee and Virginia.
The National Weather Service received 137 reports of tornadoes in the region, including 66 in Alabama and another 38 in Mississippi.
One of the hardest-hit areas Wednesday was Tuscaloosa, a city of more than 83,000 and home to the University of Alabama. The city’s police and other emergency services were devastated, the mayor said, and at least 15 people were killed and about 100 were in a single hospital.
A massive tornado, caught on video by a news camera on a tower, barreled through the city late Wednesday afternoon, leveling it.